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Old 11-26-2011, 02:49 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Questions before Starting Aquarium

I started simple, thinking I would just get a small tank but wanting to do my research first. (And am now also planning to fishless cycle.) So instead of planning to get a small tank I am now planning to get a larger tank. I haven't bought anything yet because I still have questions. As you can tell from my user name, any tank that I get is going to need a lid.
1) Do any of you with cats have a recommendation for the best lids to keep cats out? Also, a lid that is strong enough to handle having a couple ten pound cats sitting on it? (I'd rather plan for the worst and be prepared, instead of thinking "Oh, my cats wouldn't do THAT," and coming home to a broken lid and my cats swimming in the tank.)
2) If I buy a lid from a specific company, am I stuck only being able to use their filter system or will the shapes cut in the lid be similar enough to fit a filter from another company?
3) I'm currently planning on getting either a 15 or 20 gallon tank, dividing off 5 gallons for African Dwarf Frogs and having nano fish in the other half. Does this sound like it would work?
Thanks for reading all this, I wrote more than I thought I would.
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:31 PM   #2
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The plastic lids for 10-20 gallon tanks are pretty strong. They are typically curved up in the middle, which gives them some strength. If you put the aquarium on a stand, away from other furniture, they'll be less likely to jump up there I think. But you never do know, I had a cat jump from the top of my refrigerator to a bird cage hanging from the ceiling once!
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:42 PM   #3
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I can pretty much guarantee any place I put this tank is going to be accessible to cats. That's why the lids have to be both tight and strong. All of our cats are jumpers. Misty can jump from the floor to the top of a bunkbed, pushing off the headboard mid-way up, and ending up on top. Her son can do the same, running straight up the end of the bed. No furniture is tall enough or far enough away from other furniture to prevent them getting on top if they want. If I can't cat-proof, I won't get an aquarium but I'm sure others have both cats and aquariums without losing fish.
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:56 PM   #4
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I have 3 cats & couple of fish tanks but despite them being superb jumpers, none of the cats are willing to 'risk' going for a swim!!! 1 slip & a paw in the water was convincing enough to deter them for good. If i even try to pick one up & carry near the fish tank, they go ballastic! The covers they make are fairly sturdy & the plastic can be trimmed to fit most filters (they also have glass tops as well). Im glad your doing your research first!
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:04 PM   #5
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I would prefer they learn WITHOUT going for a swim, however, if they fall in during the fishless cycle I won't mind because no fish will be eaten or harmed and the tanks I am looking at are shallow enought they should be able to climb out. (I also don't want to have to buy two canopies, and I don't think any warranties will cover "my cats sat on it".) MooBoots actually doesn't mind wet paws, he drinks by dipping his paw into the water dish over and over, then washing it off. He's the one I worry about, I think he might decide to go "fishing" for fast moving bright objects.
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:58 PM   #6
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I don't think it really matters how deep the aquarium is, if a cat falls in it will get out. Funny things cats. My four won't risk getting on top of my aquarium as the cat gods might just squirt them. Really, a squirt bottle full of water is a wonderful cat deterrent, you just can't let them see you squirt them so that they think it's the cat gods doing it and they wont be 'bad' when you are not home.
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:58 PM   #7
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Lol!! All my cats drink water with their paws but none of them have any desire to get wet (even for a fish) beyond the paws. The occasional bath in kitchen sink acts as a not so subtle reminder that the fish tanks are not fun places to be so ive never had a problem. Maybe ive just been lucky but i think you will be ok with a lid-if anything, leave the lid off during your fishless cycle & see if any of your cats venture for a swim, or stick their paws in the water a few times when you 1st fill it up & see how long their interest lasts. You will figure out a solution!
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:10 PM   #8
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I tried squirting them, oddly, they got used to it. They will even poke their heads under a spray bottle of cleaner if I'm not careful. It doesn't help that one of the three goes out on a leash and is used to being occasionally rained on and thinks a squirt bottle is a mini rain shower. My cats are all a little...odd, maybe? Granted they don't have much experience with water deeper than their water dish, aside from Seuss's occasional encounter with a rain puddle, but they all seem fairly tolerant of water. Misty goes so far as to insist that water be running before she will drink.
But you are likely right that a swim would discourage them, so I will probably try leaving the lid off during the cycle.
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:04 PM   #9
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I know that there are clamps out there for aquarium use to keep lids on reptile cages. A lot of reptiles like snakes are very, very strong and can push their lids off even when they are weighted down. Maybe some clamps like that would help keep the lids secure on your aquarium?
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:16 PM   #10
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My friend has a jewel aquarium and it's lid is separated into two sections with a strong support beam in the middle. It's a strong wooden top. His cats seem to be fine sitting ontop of it and it would be impossible for them to lift or get into.
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:05 PM   #11
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I have the standard canopy (lid and light) that came with my aquarium. My cat doesn't even look at it. lol I even try to at least get him to watch the fish but he isn't interested. My tank is on a stand that's just wide enough for it so the cat wouldn't have anything to climb on to get up on top of the tank and although he is a jumper he doesn't even try to jump on the tank. Since you're going to do a fishless cycle anyway you could just try something and see if it works. If the cat leaves it alone then great. If not, you'll have time to find other solutions before you get fish.
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